Sources in Zimbabwe's long-ruling ZANU-PF party say its chairman, John Nkomo, is tipped to succeed the late Vice President Joseph Msika, while Zimbabwean Ambassador to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo is in line to take over from Nkomo as party chairman.
ZANU-PF sources said the two received a major boost with an endorsement by the party’s Matebeleland South province, home to many prominent figures of the PF-ZAPU party which merged with ZANU under a Unity Accord following extended post-liberation conflict.
The two are also backed by the three Mashonaland provinces supporting retired Army General Solomon Mujuru, said to wish to block Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, a close lieutenant of President Robert Mugabe thought to covet the vice presidential post.
The sources said Mnangangwa plotted to dethrone Vice President Joyce Mujuru at a ZANU-PF women's congress in August then remove her as party vice president at the full congress in December, but these plans were frustrated by the Matabeleland support for Nkomo.
Politiburo sources said President Mugabe has signaled he is not interested in renewal of the ageing leadership and wants Mujuru to stay put to avoid further internal party friction.
Political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that hopes of democratic elections in ZANU-PF are misguided.
More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...